The NFL Draft is behind us, rookie drafts are taking place, and as dynasty managers, we are looking ahead to the upcoming season. In our Dynasty Rookie Post-Draft Update series, we break down all the incoming fantasy-relevant rookies, looking at their profiles and where they fit. The basis of the rookie profile involves the usage of STORM analysis, focusing on five key components: Situation, Talent, Opportunity, Risk, and Market.
Name: DeWayne McBride
Position: Running Back
Pro Team: Minnesota Vikings
College Team: UAB
Draft Status: Round seven, 222nd overall
I’ve been banging the drum for DeWayne McBride for months now. He was one of my favorite RBs leading up to the draft, and I’m even more excited about where he landed. McBride was selected in the 7th round of the draft by the Minnesota Vikings with the 222nd overall pick. At the time, there were pretty strong rumors that the Vikings were looking to move on from Dalvin Cook and his hefty price tag, and by releasing Cook, the Vikings saved over $9 million in cap space.
While the departure of Cook is promising for McBride’s value, there are still plenty of hurdles for him to clear if he wants to carve out a significant role on this team. However, the Vikings are very clearly positioning themselves for the future, and this draft pick may be indicative of where things are headed offensively in Minnesota.
DeWayne McBride Combine Results:
Weight: 209 lbs
Arm: 30 ⅝”
Hand: 9 ½”
40-yard dash: NA
10-yard split: NA
Vertical Jump: NA
Broad Jump: NA
Unfortunately, McBride was unable to participate in drills at the NFL combine or at UAB’s pro day due to a lingering hamstring injury, so we do not have any athletic testing available on him other than the fact that he completed 20 reps on the bench press.
However, we have plenty of information on his skill set from his time in college. This game against Georgia Southern is the perfect DeWayne McBride experience. In that game, he rushed 28 times for 223 yards and four touchdowns. He displays his impressive ability to run through arm tackles and explode for huge chunk gains. McBride dominates with his rare combination of size, speed, and strength.
When a prospect plays against inferior competition in college, they really have to pop off the screen, and McBride does exactly that when you watch him play. It’s clear that his domination is due to his own incredible ability rather than the level of the defenders across from him.
As I mentioned above, the release of Cook leaves a giant hole in this Minnesota rushing attack, but there are four players desperately trying to earn the chance to gain consistent carries in this backfield.
The obvious beneficiary from Cook’s absence is Alexander Mattison, who has been fairly effective when given the chance to carry a full workload over the last three seasons. However, when you look at his performance as a whole, he has struggled and has failed to top four yards per carry in each of the last two seasons. Even further, both his yards after contact per attempt and explosiveness have steadily declined in each of his four seasons in the NFL, according to PFF.
The Vikings understand some of Mattison’s limitations and gave him only $6.3 million guaranteed over two seasons to help bridge the gap between Cook and the future while these young RBs develop.
The other two backs on this roster are Ty Chandler and Kene Nwangwu, who combined for 34 total rushing yards on 15 attempts in 2022. Both were fine college players, but neither entered the NFL with nearly the amount of college production as McBride.
I think McBride easily beats out Chandler and Nwangwu for the RB2 position by the time the season starts, with a clear path to overtaking Mattison as the RB1 in Minnesota sometime this season. Regardless of the depth chart designation, I believe this backfield will operate as a committee for most of the season, and think McBride has as good a shot as any of them to be the lead back of the bunch.
I think there are three clear and obvious risks associated with McBride and his prospects as a dynasty fantasy football asset.
The first is what we discussed above with the crowded RB room in Minnesota. While I’m optimistic that McBride can and will win the starting job, there are obvious concerns about whether that will actually come true. Even if he does, this screams committee work which will cap all of their upsides.
The second concern is his draft capital. 7th-round RB selections do not typically produce fantasy-relevant seasons in the NFL, and we must remember that Isiah Pacheco is the exception, not the norm.
Lastly, and the only concern I have with McBride’s actual on-field play, he is a complete non-factor in the passing game. During his three years at UAB, he caught only five total passes! He ran a total of 178 routes at UAB and was only targeted 10 times. In fantasy football in 2023, running backs need to contribute in the passing game to be startable on a weekly basis, and McBride did not show that skill set in college.
McBride is going as the RB14 in rookie drafts in the mid to late 4th round range as of June 12th, only four days after the Dalvin Cook news. That ADP will most likely tick up over time, and I anticipate him to fall into the RB12 position right at the beginning of the 4th round.
While Alexander Mattison’s value has skyrocketed, I think the best way to capitalize on the Cook news is to fade that rise and buy stock in McBride, who is the best pure rusher in this backfield and could take over the RB1 position in Minnesota by the end of the season.
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